At some point in its life, a condominium corporation is likely to face issues in which the owners want to have their say or at least be made aware of. These events can include changes to the corporation’s assets, bylaws, common elements or services. They can also include litigation and special assessments.

 

In most of these cases, any decisions are up to the board of directors, but it may be helpful for the corporation to communicate with owners in the interest of transparency and let owners express their opinions. In addition, it may avoid surprising owners, which can lead to a backlash.

One way the board of directors can do this is by calling an information meeting and inviting all the owners to attend. It is also common to invite professionals such as contractors, engineers or lawyers that the corporation has hired to help in the matter at hand.

To prepare for the meeting, send a notice to all owners advising them of the date, time and place of the information meeting, the subject matter and the financial or physical implications it may have for the corporation and owners. Also, let them know who else is going to attend and speak at the meeting — in addition to members of the board of directors and any guests such as the professionals named before.

Provide relevant financial information in the notice, too. If there is no cost implication to the corporation or owners, as in a situation where the service provider is undertaking the cost, say so in bold text in the notice. However, if a cost will be incurred, provide owners with the details.

The notice should also state that the information meeting is just that — for information — and will not require the owners to vote. Although, in some cases, the owners need to be made aware of their right to requisition an owners meeting — for example, if the corporation intends to make an addition, alteration or improvement to the common elements, or a change in the assets or services of the corporation. In that case, the notice of the information meeting should inform the owners of what sections 46 and 97(3) and 46 of the Condominium Act require.

Essentially, the corporation must inform owners of the proposed addition, alteration or improvement along with its costs and how the corporation plans to cover them. That information must be delivered in a notice that also explains and includes section 46, which gives owners the right to requisition a meeting within 30 days of its receipt if they can collect signatures representing at least 15 per cent of the corporation’s stakeholders. The addition, alteration or improvement can only proceed if owners do not requisition a meeting in the prescribed timeframe, or if the owners do not vote down the addition, alteration or improvement at a requisitioned meeting.

It’s recommended that a “Code of Conduct” be attached to the meeting notice to establish ground rules. Also provide time for questions in the agenda.

In preparing for the meeting, board members should put themselves in the shoes of the owners, so that they are ready to address any questions. However, the board should not hesitate to recognize that sometimes the answer will not be ready available and they should commit to providing the answer within a reasonable time.

Have extra copies of the notice on hand at the meeting in case an owner has misplaced theirs.

The more information is communicated to the owners in a clear, precise and accurate way, the more likely the information meeting will be a success. After the meeting, don’t forget to follow up with owners with a summary of what occurred.

 

Shlomo Sharon is the CEO of Taft Management.